The Uprooting & Change
I moved from Tulum, Mexico to Montreal, Canada this past week. I should add, for context, that these past two months have been emotionally trying and taxing for many reasons. The challenge to stay centered amidst the emotional shit storm that life had prompted, has caused me to really reflect on the nuances of energy, specifically of how my mindset and focus affect my surroundings and how I show up in this world day after day.
Once you understand the power of your focus and how energy works, there’s no unknowing. You can’t just turn a blind eye to it once you see it in practice time and time again. Yet I do, and I forget, and then remember again. When I surrender to the knowing that there is indeed a higher power that works for me and protects me daily, I can relax into the unfolding when the going gets tough. And I know, intense pressure creates the most refined diamonds.
I’ve been grappling with all the “serious adult” changes in life. And it’s required a new level of responsibility, to myself and my others. The long death transition of my grandma, the new full-time job, the parting with my belongings and relationships I’ve cultivated for 2 years in Mexico, the physical move itself, and then losing my checked bag in transit.
Meanwhile examining the more practical aspects of life, what do I want out of this short time on earth, who matters most, and how can I embrace new beginnings to my fullest potential? How can I take these 5 years of travel and pick the most glorious teachings and ride the waves a bit easier? I feel I’ve healed a lot of big wounds. I’ve learned many of the hardest lessons.
I’ve done the suffering, I’ve been numb to life, my desires, my intuition. And I’ve worked to make a conscious effort to change those limiting aspects that hinder my emotional well-being and mental freedom. Now I’m living the life that I crafted from a dream, and I’m happy with the woman I’ve become.
With that, let me tell you a story of how a lost bag turned into a great lesson of surrender.
Bidding Farewell to Comfort
The bag was lost in transit during my layover in Chicago airport. My flight route was Cancun, Chicago, and finally Montreal. I stepped off the plane into the glamourous new Chicago airport, and almost immediately into a pile of human shit. I should have known this was only the forecasting of an interesting journey ahead.
The lines to customs spanned all the way down the new wing of the airport called “M”. At least a 2-hour wait to go enter the *oh so put together* United States of America. Crowds spanning infinitely. Seas of humans with no sight beyond. I have a layover in an hour and a half, I think. There’s no way I’m getting through this line without a little audacity.
Luckily I have Global Entry, which allows me to cut through these lines and has saved me multiple times now in a pinch. I ask the guy who half-heartedly is standing with a velvet rope stopping access to the escalators, “I have Global Entry, can I pass?” to which he replied, “That’s what they all say.” After a chuckle and a grin, he looks at my card and lets me through. I scale the line on the sidelines until I finally see the Global Entry gate where there are only 4 people at the kiosks.
With a tap of my passport and a quick photo, I’m through the line. Easy breezy, until I realize I have to manually facilitate the moving of my bag from the belt to the bag recheck area. I find the right baggage shoot, and make a little request to spirit for my bag to come out quickly.
Low and behold, the first bag to come out of the black hole is mine. What luck. Maybe I’ll have time to eat at one of these amazing world-class Chicago restaurants… 💭
I scurry past the next line, verifying my exit receipt, am asked if I have any live animals or food, to which I do not, and I’m on my way. “BAGGAGE RECHECK!” A woman shouts in a frenzy. I give her my bag and unknowingly bid farewell to my most precious belongings. “Montreal,” I tell her. She says ok and away it goes… into the hands of the unknown.
I look up my gate, and realize I have to switch terminals which is about a 30-minute commute on foot. I’m realizing my dreams of eating are slowly vanishing, as I arrived with just a handful of green grapes in my stomach and an almond milk iced latte. I take the train 3 stops, and arrive through security again to which a military father stands in front of me with two well-behaved girls and two bags with what appear to be animals in them. The woman checking passports tries and gives him a hard time about using the pre-check line for whatever reason, to which he gracefully and firmly replies his intent to pass through and that he’s on military assignment. I admire his composure and persistance as he gets his way and passes through in front of me to the security belt. I look up at the time, it’s 4:44pm.
The little girls pull the two animals out of the bag. Two beautiful Bengal cats emerge with piercing blue eyes. Of course, my favorite breed of cat. They hold these two wild cuties and walk through the metal detector as they let out a MEOWWW. The energy surrounding us is rushed and chaotic but this father is so calculated, graceful and efficient, even taking time to thank me for my patience. I reply “You’re doing a great job.” A reminder that it can all be done in stride.
I run to my gate and have about 20 minutes to spare. My dining choices are slim and I compromise with a personal-sized UNO pizza and lemon water. It’ll do. I chat with the woman next to me who is headed to Lebanon to connect with her family roots for the first time in her life. I applaud her journey and move forward.
As I approach my gate, I think to ask the check-in guy about my bag. My intuition told me it might not make it past that chaos called baggage recheck. “Yeah, it’s linked to your account, it should be on the flight.” Wanting to eat the rest of my pizza, I accept the answer even though something inside of me said to ask again. Ignoring my intuition, I got on the flight and sat in seat 7A, my lucky number.
We depart on time and arrive in Montreal an hour and twenty minutes later. I get through customs just fine, albeit having to explain “why I need 90 days” and what a digital nomad is, who I know in Montreal and the last time I was here (summer 2019), things appear to be moving along just swimmingly.
The Lost Bag, The Lost Life
I approach the baggage chute anticipating my nondescript hard shell classic Calpak with no nametag to emerge from the black abyss as it has done before. 10 minutes later, no bag. I check my handy dandy United app to look at the updates of my bag scanning.
In daunting black text, I read the following:
“We’re sorry. Your bag has been rerouted. Please see the nearest help desk for assistance or call 1-800-wait on hold for 2 hours”
I turn around to see a dark and very closed United help desk and I sense a big pit in my stomach like swallowing a whole olive by accident. I ask the guy at the Sun Air desk next to it and he shrugs and looks down at his iPhone. He doesn’t know, and in fact, he doesn’t want to know. It’s 9:30pm on a Wednesday after all. The fucks given are extremely low and the sentiment of caring is only shared by me myself and I.
I wait on hold on the phone for an hour to no avail and decide I should probably just accept my fate and get an Uber to my new home. I was tired, cold, and just wanted to access my toothbrush which was in my checked luggage.
My Uber driver pulls up “BONJOUR CHRISTINE!” I get in the car and half-heartedly say, “Bonjour, I don’t speak french I just lost my luggage and sorry I’m on hold with United.” He emotes compassion and tells me it’s okay, I’m his favorite passenger of the day because I share the same name as his wife. What joy! We begin to talk about his journey from Nigeria to Montreal and I am temporarily relieved from my grim reality.
I admire the familiar dark city as we approach the Plateau and feel grateful for my ability to be here. It could be much worse, after all.
As we pull up to my new address 30 minutes later, it begins to pour rain. Of course it does. He must sense my hesitancy to get out of the car and says “WAIT A MINUTE!” He runs out of the car, grabs an umbrella in the trunk, and walks me 30 seconds to my door holding the umbrella over my head.
He tells me that I’m his favorite passenger again and I thank him profusely for his kindness. I walk into my new home with a smile on my face because of the way one person can affect another and the spirit of selflessly giving. My problems start to seem smaller as I notice what a beautiful home I have just stepped into that I had found on Facebook marketplace… the high ceilings and chandelier greet me hello as I observe this beautiful corner 3rd-floor space that is now my own for the summer.
The First Day of Starting from Zero
The next day I roll out of bed and step outside. A WHOLE NEW WORLD plays loudly in my mind as I observe the beautiful European-looking neighborhood which I now reside, the sun in the trees, the amazing early Autumn temperature (it’s June 2nd and I’ve just come from Mexico). I embark to my favorite park, Parc Fontaine and sit under the nearest tree. I realize I have a choice, to stay in yesterday’s whirlwind energy or to ground myself here and tap into my heart space.
After an 11 minute meditation, I feel drastically better. I feel grateful despite wearing the same denim jumpsuit as yesterday and having unbrushed teeth and a faint smell to me. I decided to call United again. Twenty minutes later, a joyful representative greets me and we begin laughing together about the insanity of my situation. He assures me I can breathe because he’s going to take care of it.
First he offers me a $100 flight voucher for my troubles, and then tells me my bag was put on the wrong belt. Of course it was. And that it’s en route to Newark airport then will be put on the afternoon flight to Montreal. I’ll have my bag the same day. What luck! I think. As I plan my day around only temporary discomfort, I realize around 4pm that nothing has been updated in the United app for the tracking. I call back, and am given zero answers as to what happened and a half-hearted assurance that It’ll be on the later flight that night…
4 hours later, no updates on the app. I call back again (each time waiting about an hour on hold) and am told they don’t know what happened. The number they are dialing in Newark is not being answered.
The next day, I am told the flights were canceled and that’s why it didn’t make it. I’m offered $100 a day to spend on “essentials” in the meantime.
For the next day, I was really annoyed and ungrounded. I’m in a new place with none of my toiletries, clothes, shoes, or comfort items.
Something’s gotta give. Because I clearly don’t have control of this situation.
A Shift of Mindset & Letting The Magic In
I call my intuitive friend and request guidance. This friend is a psychic medium I met on an app while in Mexico who ironically enough is from my little state of Rhode Island and an overall amazing human being, and is also my age. We became fast friends off the app, and she always helps guide me in times of upheaval.
She tells me I can choose to surrender to the adventure and new beginning at any time and can start finding joy now instead of postponing it to some future date. She tells me I will get my bag back and to relax and get myself some comfort items and start enjoying my new city. She’s right, I think. I shift to the vibration of the solution instead of the problem. What are my immediate needs? Well, clothes and toiletries would be lovely. Let’s start there.
I remember a Facebook group I used years ago in Montreal for housesitting, called BUNZ Trading Montreal. People swap things for free and it’s a very community-centric space. I decide to go out of my comfort zone and ask for donations, as I have ironically just given away over $2,000 worth of clothing in Tulum. Immediately, I am flooded with messages offering bags of clothes, toiletries, and other goodies to help me feel at home.
4 hours later I’ve met some really cool generous folks around the city and have acquired two bags of clothes and essentials. The contents also include udon noodles, plant cuttings, sheets & blankets, a pillow, tons of makeup samples, new razors, lipgloss & concealer, and later on an Italian Moka Pot which I had been low key manifesting. The first girl invited me to experimental jazz later that day. Blessings received.
The funny bit? The first girl I met with had just come from Chicago airport that morning. Universe you have such a sense of humor. Ha ha. And the second girl who gave me brand new Korean skincare, she knew my one friend in Montreal in the food blogging scene. She’s a food blogger as well. We make plans to get Indonesian food around the city sometime.
Meanwhile, I’m alerted by a lawyer on the Bunz group that United actually has to cover up to $1,800 worth of expenses while the bag is delayed. Technically. And they just tell you $100 a day so you don’t go on a shopping spree. I call back and inform United of this and advocate for shoes, underwear, and clothes. They immediately grant me $250 for the day and use vauge verbiage to nor confirm or deny the $1,800 but do say yes that’s true “but it’s not to be used all at once.” My intuition tells me they are saying this to limit you, but will cover up to that amount.
Time For A Little Shopping Spree
I see a shoe store across the street and buy myself some new yellow converse and leather sandals. I then go to the pharmacy and get some essentials, and the next day visit Sephora and Zara and continue my happy shopping. I now have a big smile on my face realizing the almost missed opportunity had I stayed in victim mode. I notice limiting beliefs coming up left and right about purchasing a $60 jacket, and other expensive items. Inflation has definitely hit big time.
The fear of what if I don’t get this money back? flashes in my mind and I realize this is also a fun time to observe my money mindset. I have $1,800 and am subject to my conditioning of growing up shopping thrift only and only buying items that are 50% off or more.
After spending nearly $600 in the mall, I call United and tell them what I bought. “Ok mam, we add it to your file and it should be covered” Ultimately the claims examinator makes the call but it’s in my file. I feel little to no desire to have my bag back as I’ve replaced the items and then so, and feel the resistance melt away.
The Resistance Melting Into Receiving
He then exclaims, out of nowhere, “Mam, your bag is on it’s way for delivery to you tomorrow morning.” Of course it is!
I leave the mall biking home with my bags strapped on my Bixi and reflect on the sequence of events that had just taken place in the past week. More specifically, the melting of resistance and almost immediately inviting in the manifestation. It happens every damn time and I am always struck by it. The desire minus the resistance creates the result.
By tapping into abundance and receiving mode, I was able to align to my bag returning to me. I have done this many times with lost items. If the item is LOST, you’re not going to find it. If the item is already FOUND, and you can trick yourself to feel that, it shows up. It’s proven true many times in my past experience, specifically with shoes at the beach.
It’s not even about manifestation. But it is a part of it I must outline. It’s about the mindset shift that I chose to lean into and the surrender into trusting in the unknown.
I leaned into the adventure. I found fun in the unknowing. I was able to laugh and loosen and be rewarded with abundance. I again realize there’s always a divine plan, and while we may grip to control and the desire to know, sometimes completely letting go is the most rewarding thing we can do.
Sometimes we think we know best and we just don’t. Looking back, things are always working out to my highest good. Sometimes it’s just my blinders are on in the moment to see it.
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Christine is a twenty-something coffee-obsessed solo traveler from a small town on the east coast of the US. She sold everything 4 years ago to follow her curiosity around the world.
As a passionate creative entrepreneur & digital nomad, she has explored it all! Her mission is to help others create and live their dream lifestyles aligned with their values and ultimately, create more sundays in their everyday.